Cycling & Me

 

livshimanolot

 

Confidence and backing myself are two things I really struggle with … really – its so easy to hide behind lotdeux “the brand”, especially when I am squirreled away down here in the country and don’t have a huge amount of contact with anyone I connect with on the internet.

What you see online, is not the whole story ever. so please keep that in mind – all the time, about anyone. Rarely do people show you the zits, the shitty mundane parts of everyday life. we all have them. hell i’m sitting here in the office and its 8.25pm on a friday night, and i’ve been here since 8am! no amount of filtering can change the fact that i have a NORMAL life. just like you.

in any case, i thought i would share a little bit more about ME, cause people seem interested. so let me tell you its actually ahhh, pretty scary to be REAL.

but also, for the most part it’s a little relieving.


 

I have shied away from opportunities presented to me in the past for fear that I am not worthy, for fear that in reality I would not meet the expectation of others. 

and every now and then I have epiphanies its not often, but it happens … last night when i was parked at my secret spot watching the most beautiful sunset, i started thinking about all the things i would like to do, and why i haven’t done them and what was holding me back from doing them

And i thought to myself – being scared of letting someone else down, or being scared that i might not meet someone else’s perception or expectation of me is crazy. Because i owe them, nothing. But i owe myself everything.

 ” the only expectations I am not meeting, are those of my own. of my own self. they are really the only ones that should matter. Why should I be scared to be me? “

 that’s not living barry!

so although i have the largest audience on instagram – i know a few of you do occasionally link through and end up here – i really lost my creative mojo for a while and everything just seemed to stop. going through periods of huge change in my personal life really threw the balance out but as the cycling side of things is gathering some momentum and alot of you genuinely seem to be interested in what i am doing i thought i would start to share more of myself with you – some of you may be able to relate, maybe you will be able to understand me a little better, maybe just maybe, you will be able to come away with something that could help you a little – i see it all as a positive.

i might break this up into a couple of posts – as its already looking like its going to be pretty text heavy. but if your interested in hearing more or not at all – don’t be a stranger. let me know!

CYCLING – WHERE I STARTED 

PART 1

“the best bike to ride, is the one you have!”

2008 – I met a pretty great guy – we will call him, Jamie. cause well, that’s his name. He had all these crazy stories to tell me about bike packing his way around Scotland, and riding world champion MTB Downhill tracks, he had a mowhawk, a bike inspired tattoo that he designed himself and stars on his elbows. I thought he was amazing (and i still think he still is) we were pretty much inseparable after the first time i brought him a drink at the nightclub i worked at – So  it was only natural that with his interest in bikes and all things cycling i started attending MTB events as token photographer/soignuer/support crew to my boyfriend + his friends. We would drive up, with the 4×4 packed to the hilt with gels, spares, tyres, bikes and food – i would help set up the camp spot, wait dutifully in the sign in line that would snake its way around the oval with people from all walks of life – all there for the same reason, the love of cycling. (And really, i thought most of them were batshit crazy… i mean why on earth would you want to ride a bike in 40 degree heat, for 24 hours?)

and then i would say goodbye & sit on my own eating chips & dip, drinking coffee and chatting to the old guys at the lions sausage sizzle …  while everyone else was out riding trails through the most beautiful landscape, pushing their bodies & bikes to the absolute limit in the searing stifling suffocating heat or the cold, wet and muddy conditions – and having heaps of fun doing it.

i would wait for hours for everyone to return, flipping through my magazine for the 10th time, looking at my phone which had zero service and starting to panic that maybe something had happened out there  … the race MC’s booming voice would sing out from the oval at forrest and jolt me back to reality i would race over to the finish , my panic easing as i watched each rider start to come in,  i would be so happy to see Jamie who would roll in absolutely exhausted and i would hurriedly hand him a cold coke and give him a kiss, take his gloves from him … and then, i would be left alone again, while the crew swapped race stories.

don’t get me wrong … I loved being there to support everyone, but i secretly wished that i was out there too, instead of feeling like a bit of an outsider. Not one person came back from any of those rides unhappy – mostly it was just alot of sweaty, dusty and depending on the weather, often exhausted mud caked smiles. It was intoxicating to be around so many people who truly loved what they were doing -But who was i kidding? i couldn’t do that! i wasn’t fit! i hadn’t owned or ridden a bike since i was a kid! So i pushed it out of my mind, and that was it.

Cycling was his thing, and i was quite happy for it to be that way.


 

In just over a year of living with my boyfriend and his brother –  I had put on a bit of weight (alot of weight actually) late nights, poor eating and no exercise took its toll physically & emotionally – i was working two jobs : full time in retail sales and i worked weekends at the nightclub – on my days off and after work i was drinking alcohol regularly, and would rarely turn down the offer of cheeky midweek pub meal, which of course meant Parmy & Chips washed down with a bourbon… I wasn’t enjoying my work, I was always tired and I really just didn’t want to do much most of the time.

I had formed such terrible eating habits, i felt shit, i felt shit about myself and i desperately wanted a quick fix.

I lived on tuna and rice and salads for months. I tried meal replacement shakes, I tried the lemon detox – I tried anything and everything, and I still felt shit. because I was fucking hungry. all the time.  all I thought about was food. sure i lost some weight, but it was pretty short lived. whatever i lost, i quickly put back on.

I would have my 250ml of water and weight loss shake at work and kid myself that I was satisfied, at one time I pretty much  lived on sugar free redbull’s and not much else.

Because i calorie restricted so much i had no energy, and then i would get home and would binge on everything in sight, i would cook scalloped potatoes with cream and cheese, my lasagnas would be spilling out of the pan, whats that? you want a creamy bacon carbonara? no problem! hearty comfort foods was where it was at, that was my jam – i would heap our plates and then go back for seconds, when i was packing up i would usually pick at what was leftover and i would tell myself it was ok because I “didn’t really eat much today”

truth be told I was probably pretty hard to come home to most day’s,  I cant  imagine I wasn’t a very nice person a lot of the time. or fun for that matter.

 

I was a mess. Psychically, emotionally and mentally – these 3 things i will come to learn … are so closely connected.

lotcollage2

 

Now these are just a couple of photos from around this time period – i really struggled to find many photos of me to share from this time, because i clearly was uncomfortable with how i felt about myself. Now i look at these photos, i really don’t see ANYTHING wrong, i’m not body shaming, i’m not saying anyone who has a similar shape to this looks bad or should feel bad, because i need to make this clear – it wasn’t what i looked like it that made me unhappy it was HOW I FELT about myself, because i wasn’t taking care of myself – looking at these photos, all i can think is, wow. i had a really nice pair of boobs (um, please come back!!!), an a pretty bodacious hourglass figure. 

57344_481944756920_601817_o

Yep these are a pair of shorts that i owned and at one time fit into. 

April 2009The light-bulb moment

came when we were on a trip to Adelaide. It was hot and I was really struggling i couldn’t  put it off any longer  – I needed a pair of shorts so we went to Marion Shopping centre, and I tried some on, I remember being in the change room of Just Jeans staring at myself in the mirror not believing what I was seeing.

How could I let myself get like this? I started to cry, this wasn’t who I was. I didn’t want to be this person anymore.

I could see how i felt on the inside about myself, reflected on the outside and that was the moment for me, that was when i knew i had to change.

Even as I proof read this out loud I cant help but cry, I was really unhappy. My heart hurts for that girl.

so, towards the end of 2009 with the encouragement of Jamie that cycling was the perfect sport for someone like me to get into, i was fitted for a road bike at the local bike shop.

It was a White Giant Defy … and it was the first bike I had owned & ridden since i woke up on Christmas morning as an 8 year old to see a hot pink Malvern Star waiting for me under the veranda, it was awesome and it was all mine!

Cycling is a great way to ease back into fitness if your just starting out, there are so many benefits – it is low impact and great for cardio and FUN- for someone that didn’t particularly enjoy running, cycling was the perfect option to kick-start me back on my fitness “journey” ( he will hate me writing that by the way, sorry jamie. )

The first time we went out on my new bike, We maybe rode a maximum of 6kms and i’m not kidding when i say everything hurt. 

My lungs were screaming and my legs ached, I had these fancy ( aka: scary) shoes that kept my feet clipped into the pedals, I worried about falling off ( I did and have done many times since, and yep I have fallen off at the traffic lights in front of cars )

I worried about lots of things when I first rolled out of the driveway on that bike, but when we got home from that first ride, i couldn’t stop smiling.

with each pedal stroke i started to feel happier, closer to the person i wanted to be….

23 thoughts

  1. I am so glad to read this. I, too, had a similar “eureka” moment in my life when I realized the damage I was doing to my body and spirit with unhealthy living. Cycling was my road to a better me. I have found such support and camaraderie in the sport, which I really only started 4 years ago on a 35lb Trek Mountain bike. I will never forget the first day after moving to Austin and walking into Mellow Johnny’s to do a group ride. I was so nervous, feeling like I would be ridiculed, rejected, or simply dropped. None of that happened. It literally changed my life. I went from barely keeping up on the group rides, to leading them. I still have a ways to go to reach my fitness goals, but I am a fitter and happier person than I’ve ever been and I owe it all to cycling as a sport and a community. Thank you for this post and letting me see that all people can and have had the same issues I have, and how they also have overcome them.

    P.S. – I’m elchefenegro in Instagram and if you’d like to see some of my cycling adventures around Austin, feel free to follow. 🙂

    • Hi Tim, Thanks so much for sharing that! i agree one of the best things i have come to love about cycling is the community & the people within it. I commend you for taking that first step, it would have been scary as shit, your fortunate to be living in Austin – what a great place to cycle and the guys at Mellow Johnny’s are pretty Rad. Don’t ever stop doing anything that brings you happiness – glad you are on your way to your fitness goals too, your miles infront of where you were yesterday, last week, last month & last year – if you ever feel stuck, take a moment to look back. remember that first ride and be proud of the person you are today. Ride Safe!

  2. This is a really great write up. So much I relate to / the fear of letting others down and the way this stops us from living fully, and that crappy feeling. Cycling has been my saviour as well in a way, certainly when everything else has gone to shit I know that at least my bike works. What I really love is your honesty, there’s not enough of it in the world because most of us are too afraid to show just how shit scared we can be, just how ugly and weak we feel. But we’re not alone, we never are, it’s just a powerful and soul destroying illusion. I’m inspired by this also as I’m rebuilding my life from scratch. Starting again at 40 with my son and my bikes. Thank you for you courage in sharing.

    • Hey James, sorry to hear that you are starting again – sometimes i do think it is difficult to be the most honest with yourself, let alone with others, and especially people you love and care about. I feel writing helps me, this post has been sitting as a draft for the last couple of weeks, as every time i would read it i would cry. it was hard to get through it without crying, and it was only yesterday that i could post it. There’s alot of people on this planet, and there has been many more before us – it would be ignorant to think that we haven’t at one time or another shared similar experiences. i guess that the positive of the internet – is that connections and experiences like this can be shared, viewed and talked about. If what i said makes someone somewhere feel a little better about what they are feeling, i’m happy – i don’t think i am courageous, i’m just me. but thank you for sharing and taking the time to comment i do really appreciate it! When you look back on how much life you have lived in 40 years – take comfort in the fact that you have another 40 of those infront of you, sure you are a little older now but you have wisdom, and quite a few lessons learned to prepare you for what lies ahead.

  3. I can entirely relate to this and love this whole post. Word for word, I felt like I could have typed that myself! I just found your Instagram account and I am so glad I did!!! Good on you!! You’re an inspiration

    • Hi Anna! this makes me smile – please say hello to me on instagram so i know who you are! 🙂 thanks for taking the time to come over and have a read – we are all human. sometimes that can get easily lost amongst nice pictures and nice things! and hey guess what – its saturday and im at work again! 🙂 living the dream – if you are riding this weekend i hope you enjoy it!

      • You actually followed me last night which is awesome!!! I got my Giant about 6 months ago and same as you, my partner got me into it and now I love it, and we sure did do a cycle this weekend 😊 Xx

  4. Terrific first installment, and honestly you don’t need to say another word. I’ll share your words with every one of my new customers who has doubts and fears. But keeps those words flowing!

    • Hi Geoff! thanks so much for your comment, i would be more than happy for you to share those words with your new customers! they’ve already taken the first step and walked into the shop – that is sometimes the hardest part! so they are almost there! i still worry about little things, but soon enough the worries i have are replaced with “godam did i eat enough food to get me home, and where the hell can i buy some sugar?” everyone starts somewhere, and no one, no one, does something for the first time and is professional at it. unless they are a genetic freak of gifted nature and then … goodluck to them. haha

  5. Thanks for sharing the raw and personal insights into your past life and telling the story of you reengaging with that happier person deep with in.

    It is amazing how our daily lives can lead us away from from true person.

    I too have used cycling to rediscover with the person I once lost inside. The journey is incomplete, but I’m enjoying everyday of the rebuild.

    • Hi Paul! yeah i think its pretty easy to get over come these days – i guess that’s the greatest thing about cycling, and well any sport that pushes you really. alot of whats going on in life, is left on the road by about 5 or 10kms. your focus is shifted, away from the thoughts in your head, away from whats going on. the way your legs feel, your pedals turning, your heart rate increasing all become rythmic and drown out the white noise. cycling can be the cheapest form of therapy – if you want it to be! (can also be pretty exxy if you enjoy the finer things!) but keep on rolling, the future is ahead x

  6. I’m so glad to know some of your backstory after following your Instagram (those sunsets …). Riding is my therapy. Everyone around me knows when I’ve been too long off the bike …. Maybe someday I’ll get to a similar change. Right now it’s a little hard, so it’s helpful to read your story.
    Again, thanks for sharing. Keep it … UP!

    • Hi Wade, ive made many stops and starts along the way – so stoked that you enjoy my instagram too, im pretty fortunate to live where i do, the sunsets at “my spot” are by far my favourite too!
      get back on the bike when you are ready if & when you can – it will always be waiting, and you never forget how. 🙂

  7. This was a great blog entry. So well said, but all of us can relate. It is so nice to follow the beautiful on the outside you on IG and the even more beautiful on the inside you on your blog… thanks for sharing.

    • HI Carl, really appreciate the time you took to read it – its great that something i really, wrote for myself – has connected with others. what a great community we have!

  8. This is the most real thing i have read in so long, it takes a lot of courage to post without the filters. You have inspired me a lot, i have avidly followed you on Instagram for a long time after stumbling across one of your beautiful sunset pictures one day. Living in Ireland where a sight of the sun is a rare and beautiful thing, i’d always scroll through your feed on a rainy day on the bus to work enviously. The thing is.. I’ve been going through something similar to what you have described, which makes these words even more powerful to read, but instead of exercise, I’ve found my peace through writing. I’ve wanted to start a blog for a really long time but only found the courage to post publicly, very recently.
    You deserve to know how much your posts (filtered or unfiltered) touch people. I am proud to say that I was one of them.
    Keep inspiring because you’re doing one hell of a job of it.
    Love (from all the way over here in rainy Dublin)
    @fionaanderson

  9. Thank you for sharing! I always enjoy hearing stories of how cycling changed someone’s life for the better. I try to spread the word myself of how wonderful of a sport it is, but no one seems to listen. I cycle purely for the love of it and the ability to challenge myself (and get Strava KOMs of course) and the health benefits just come along with it. Since I really got into road cycling about five years ago, I’ve lost 30 lbs, but again, that’s something that came from just the love of being on the open road.

    Keep pedaling!

    -Dave

    • Hi Dave! congratulations on reaping the benefits of doing something you love! it is of course just a bonus that the more you ride, the fitter you become – and hopefully the longer you have on this earth to enjoy it! keep spreading the message and keep smiling while you pedal (maybe not on those KOM climbs though haha) you never know whos watching and who you might influence!

      Ride Safe!
      Adrienne

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